Around Here Weeks 12-13: 03/18-03/31

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  18 hours (of 1000)  You guys, I can't even describe to you the degree in which my soul needs warm temperatures, blue skies, and warm sunbeams on my skin.  We had (another) big snowstorm - enough to get an early dismissal from school followed by a snow day! We all went outside to play in the snow and obviously Gemma could not help herself from doing cartwheels in full snowsuit and 11 inches of snow. #thatupsidedownlife Despite the spastic weather we have been experiencing, I have been making efforts to take the dogs out for long walks at least three times a week no matter the amount of mud or snow we have to trek through.

Reading and finishing The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. I found it inspiring to read all the way that people are out there in the world living their lives.  Gosh, it has been overwhelming with negative news these last few months (...years?) and it is so refreshing to read about stories of people making big dreams and going after them. One of my favorites was the family that bikes together and when their two sons were teens, their family biked all the way from Alaska to Argentina. For about ten seconds I was all like, "Yes! We're doing that!" or the kid who walked across the entire USA and I was all like, "Oh! Good idea for me and B when all the kids are out of the house!" hahahha - because that's my soul, man. But even when I came back to real life from those split seconds of inspiration - I could see how encouraging and validating it is to read about other people's big goals and know that somewhere out there people are doing incredible things.  I am a big believer in acquiring happiness through pursuit of accomplishing goals and to do lists.  (re: 100 small things) So the topic of this book was right up my list-loving alley, however, being honest - I wasn't crazy about the layout or the flow of the book; it felt a little disjointed to me and too segmented.  I would recommend it though if you are in need a jump start to creativity, motivation, and inspiration to changing things up in your life. I received this book through Blogging for Books but my opinion is my own. 

Preparing for Easter decorating our Easter egg tree outside, reading our Easter books (some of our favorites: Duck! Rabbit!, The Golden Egg Book, When Spring Comes, and Pat the Bunny), coloring our Lenten countdown charts, and volunteering to bus-tables at our church's fish fry (one of the big kids' favorite 12 months of kindness tasks!) We didn't even dye eggs this year (?!) but the kids didn't even seem to mind (mostly because of our new chicks - see below!)

Celebrating our little 3 and a half year old for her half birthday. Our Vially girl is still everyone's favorite and can be so silly and hilarious sometimes.  She is going through that rough three year old phase (tantrums, whining, being bad on purpose) but I have to say - it's way better than the first two's attempts (or maybe I'm more laid back because #tootired). She still loves horses and talks about Dawn (our aunt&uncle's horse that came to her birthday party) at least once a week.  She wears her cat sleeping eye mask (from Gem's bday party) almost everynight and has a pair of Spiderman slippers IN bed at night. She has some best friends at school: Grady, Hunter, Carter, Tanner (all boys) and she is learning so much.  She has a true artist's heart and loves to paint and color and tell stories through her barbie dolls actions and dialogues.

Expanding our family 10 beaks and 10 fishtails! Brandon and the girls headed out to the pet store after cleaning our tank on Saturday and came back with ten new fish! And then on Sunday (because we have an endless supply of crazy) we adopted 10 baby chicks. It is something we've talked about for the past four years and so finally we were both on the same page and made the leap.  The chicks are so stinking cute and the kids are all over the moon about it. Gem randomly says, "I just can't believe we have chicks!" Profuse apologies to anyone who follows me on Pinterest for the insane amount of backyard chicken pins I've posted in the past three weeks. Our chickies are camped out in our dining room in a tub inside of the dog crate with their heat lamp for now. Trixie could literally care less about them and Bullet is doing surprisingly well (for him). It's taking a lot of patience and working with him, but it seems promising. For the record, we now have 26 pets - 2 dogs (bullet & trixie), 1 hamster (spike), 10 chickens (we can't tell them apart save three - so we have Buck, Roo, and Momo), and 13 fish. #legitStuderZooCrew

Playdating with the Fiores at our house and loving seeing our kids together. Kate and the kiddos came up for brunch (Grey made his egg & sausage casserole!) and while the kids played with the chicks and nerf gun battled, and giggled endlessly - Kate and I ate our bodyweight in berries, played catch up in our lives and dreams and this parallel journey through motherhood.  (love you kate!)

Taking an afternoon out with my baby sis Uch to the movie to see Love, Simon (so so good. loved it. never wanted the movie to end.) and then grabbing a margarita afterwards to chat and laugh and cry and fill my soul with battery charge because that's what happens when you're with your sister. (love you.)

Feeling motivated to keep eating healthy and getting my steps in (I'm in a challenge at school and also doing Weight watchers freestyle). I have been daily hitting  the 10,000 step goal (does that mean I should up my goal?) and doing pretty good with the eating. It has been so eye-opening to track foods and see my trends and tendencies.  I am most ravenous everyday between 4p-6p. I want to snack on all the foods- especially salty and sweet treats. But the rest of the day I'm totally fine with eating healthy and normal portions. Looking back at days I've 'gone over points' it is always because of my Snack category and that time window right after school.  I'm glad that I have the issue pinpointed, first step, right?

Teaching and finishing up our Spanish novels with my Level2's. We celebrated with food days and the kids are always impressing me with what they make to bring in (we had 'taco cookies' this time! Thank you Ana!) My Spanish club kids visited the elementary school again to teach their mini lesson (colors!) and they continue to make me proud with how they represent the high school and our club. The day before Easter break, we had a Nitro Ball tournament and Nikki and I played together again. It was so fun - my first time playing - we were able to hang in the winner's bracket for two rounds before being bumped to the loser's bracket for two more games. We have made it to the final marking period - which feels like both a relief and panic. Only 9 more weeks to go until summer (relief) and Only 9 more weeks to get through all my lesson plans (panic!) Hah. I have learned so much over the course of this school year - so many blog posts to share with you someday soon, I hope - but I know in my bone marrow that I am where I'm supposed to be even though our life feels so wild with two full time working parents and four kids and all the activities for everyone. 

Visiting with the Vorndrans while we were in Pittsburgh for our Gemma Cheerleading girl! They came over to her competition with their two little ones in tow and hung out for the whole day (gosh, love you guys!) and we ran around and played and passed the long wait until trophies (they got 2nd place!) together chatting and being interrupted thirty thousand times as parents do. We headed back to their house for dinner and hanging out and it was the perfect little Saturday with some of our dearest friends.

--wife brag-- Nothing in particular except that Brandon has been killing the husband/dad game. Like 100 percent partnership in life going on and he's so handsome and brings me lunch to my classroom somedays and I swoon when I seem him walk through the classroom like a teenager and it makes my students smile. Also, he's real handsome, so that too.

Making chicken & veggie casserole, spaghetti, roasted pork loin and brussel sprouts, and chicken & biscuit roll-ups. For Easter, I made my grandma's sugar cookies with her boiled icing (so yum).